I spent two weeks in Montreal where I did a lab with composers, artists, and performers. The music and the development of creative processes was extraordinary! I learned so much, however I want to emphasize the discoveries I found with my body.Continue reading New trips, Old patterns
The body is the medium to create sound and for some of us it’s the vessel and the beginning of everything.
A Fragmented Body
At the beginning I didn’t have awareness in my body.
I learned to play from watching movements and copying them. I practiced for hours, days, months, and years. Most of the time it worked, but not always.
My illusion was that if I matched all those movements and performed them, I was going to play correctly. Faithful to my ideas, I didn’t question and I followed the instructions.
Early in my studies I started having some pain and later I was labeled as a musician with tendonitis. Continue reading I Have Wide Experience in Performing, Performing Fragmented
There are numerous stories in our journey of music making. Some of them make us feel complete and encourage us to keep going and enjoy our music. However, there are also times when we face situations that make us believe that we are not talented (“enough”) and lose our confidence.
If you want to know how these experiences feel in your body, try the next exercise!
Barbara and William Conable, who are Alexander Technique teachers and developers of Body Mapping, are the authors of How to Learn the Alexander Technique: A manual for students. They explain common misperceptions in the body that musicians have that cause them tension. The part for percussionists says: Continue reading Are percussionists the freest instrumentalists?
A few days ago I remembered how important it is to know the right way to use our tools, so that we don’t hurt ourselves. By tools I mean several things, from a hammer and pliers to the instruments we play, sticks and mallets, bows, microphones, etc. Mics weren’t in my awareness until the last time that I went to a show. Continue reading Are you tense in your neck?
The exploration of the body and learning accurate information about it has been fundamental in my process as a musician and as a person. My training in classical music, and my past beliefs, shaped me so that having control and the search for perfection were essential in my life. The exploration of new forms in music was not encouraged.
After experiencing tendonitis, in an effort to connect with my body, I started practicing yoga. Years later I gave it up for a busy performance schedule. I assumed that body, movement, and music couldn’t exist together. Body Mapping allowed me to make that connection and start a new process…
The idea of Experiment, Move & Play is to open a space where we can link the exploration of the physical body with the creative self. The body is a medium for our performances. Using Body Mapping we will learn about how we are naturally designed to move, not only to avoid injuries or tension, but also to identify and work through limitations. At the same time, we will give room for the spontaneous through some improvisation.
It is the end of the year, winter is starting and the day light savings and the upcoming solstice are making me feel drained. It doesn’t matter how important or exciting the events in my life are, my body is tired.
We are so used to demanding a lot from ourselves and in this thinking sometimes we believe that sleeping and resting less would increase our productivity. Productivity meaning: practicing more, playing more, planning classes, writing, sending emails, etc. Continue reading Recharge with Five Minutes of Constructive Rest
Last week I bit my food in a weird way, and this produced pain that has lasted all week in one of my teeth. Since then, I’ve been more aware of how I eat and of the amount of tension that this pain has produced in my jaw.
However, the tension around my jaw is not new. Since I started being more conscious about my body, I’ve noticed the patterns that I repeat which produce tension in this area. For example, usually I clench my teeth when I’m stressed. This happens in different circumstances when I practice, play or even when I’m writing an email. Do you experience something similar?
Are you aware of your jaw when you play?
What do you know about the jaw?
Have you noticed if you clench your jaw when you’re trying to play faster or in any other situation?
In the next video I explain some things to help you to reduce the tension in your jaw.
On October 15th Jennifer Johnson and I presented in the music educators conference Resonate 2016-NLTA.
Our presentation focused on recognizing some of the cultural myths and postures that produce pain and tension in the body. We talked about how these patterns interfere with the natural design of our bodies and explained accurate information about the body. We also shared some of the tools that we can use to help our students to develop a balanced body while learning to play an instrument.
Some of the topics discussed were neck, shoulder, and lower back pain; as well as tendonitis in the arm and carpal tunnel syndrome. Continue reading An hour of learning!